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February 05, 2016

It Just Worked! The End of Apple's Elegance

Let me start by saying that Walt Mossberg said this better than I ever will, then let me say that his experience is better than mine, but more importantly is a telling sign of things to come for Apple.

Apple is the company that matched to Steve Jobs’ view of elegant code. His view was that 10 percent of the coders were capable of elegance and another 30 percent could support the elegant coders. Tom Shafron refers to the 10 percent as the software architects.

The rest of the coders have either a neutral or negative impact on your code base, and either end up contributing to bloat or bringing vulnerabilities.

Apple is having problems because the elegant / architects are no longer interested in developing for iPhone. Now they want to make beacons, cars and watches. If the base was secure that would be fine, but with a company that is proud that its customer base is always updated to the newest version release (some would say forced), the new version should be constantly rebuilt toward elegance.

Instead features now come on like modules, and quality assurance and degradation of systems is not the priority.

The result is chinks in the armor.

While Walt finds flaws with iCloud, iTunes, Mail, and Photos, my experience is with Facetime, GarageBand, and recently the iPhone OS.  And we can’t be alone. I am used to seeing a healthy balance at the Apple Store of help requests and sales opportunities. Now the mix is definitely skewed toward customer care.

Apple is now pushing people away from the genius bar and toward Apple Care.

Here’s the rub. For all its flaws, Apple is still the best solution around. Can we say Apple is going to degrade further? Probably. Can we say someone is going to be better? Hard to find the path to that. Perhaps MS Surface will be a winner in the long run.

For today, I still run Windows on my Mac.

Edited by Rory J. Thompson

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